A book written by a Galway fitness trainer and former fitness model became a bestseller on Amazon, the online retail giant, within 24 hours of going on the market.
“The Fitness Mindset” by Brian Keane, who is from Clonbur, shows you how to improve your health, lose weight, and maintain the mindset to reach your body goals.
It focuses on day-to-day activities to help improve your general health and energy levels, including how to understand sleep patterns.
The former London primary teacher, who now owns and runs a fitness company and lives in Galway, has an impressive online following with more than 61,000 Instagram followers and 64,000 Facebook fans. He hosts one of the top fitness and nutrition podcasts on iTunes (http://apple.co/2tJc3Fp ).
Brian, who at age nine was inspired by bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to began his fitness journey, outlines in his book how understanding your sleeping pattern can boost your energy, improve your willpower and benefit your general health.
An estimated one in three adults do not obtain the recommended hours of sleep. He warns that not sleeping enough can lead to immune system problems, weight gain and in extreme cases, mood disorders.
“As someone who has been a notoriously poor sleeper, I understand how poor-quality sleep can affect people’s everyday lives,” says the fitness trainer who works with GAA clubs and county players to help them improve their sporting performance.
“It can affect everything from your energy levels to your willpower. We waste time falling asleep and spend hours in a light sleep state, which doesn’t have the same body and brain boosting benefits of deep and rapid eye movement (REM ) sleep. Your sleep quality is more beneficial than your sleep quantity.”
REM is the dream state we enter while sleeping. This usually occurs 90 minutes after the onset of sleep, or within 30 minutes, if someone is sleep deprived.
“We’ve all been told: ‘You need to get at least eight hours of sleep every night,’ but why? This brings us back to REM sleep. We have about four or more REM periods per night and they go in 90 minute cycles. This is why if you sleep for seven and a half hours and wake up, you feel more refreshed as you have finished that cycle and your body finds it easier to wake up. If you wake up after 10 hours, you’re mid-way through a cycle, which is why you feel tired and need a ‘kick’ just to get going the next morning.
“Given that sleep is an essential way of resting, recharging, and nourishing both your body and mind, sustained, unbroken sleep and dreaming are part of our lifestyle that determine the quality of our health.”
He outlines there are two simple ways to improve your sleep. “The first is avoiding the ‘second wind’. There is a window from 10.45pm to 11pm when most people get naturally tired. This window differs a little based on each person or the current season, but it falls in line with the circadian cycle (the biological clock representing changes in our bodies ). If you don’t go to sleep, you’ll get a cortisol (a steroid hormone ) driven ‘second wind’ that can keep you awake until 2 or 3am.
“If you can stick close to the circadian cycle and get to bed before 11pm, you will wake up feeling more rested than if you get the same amount of sleep starting later.”
“The second tip is to “switch off your brain”, he says. “You may feel unable to switch off from feelings of stress, tension and anxiety. As a London primary school teacher, who was running a personal training business on the side, it did become stressful and if I didn’t get enough sleep I wouldn’t be performing at my best.
“One thing that supported me massively was writing down all of the following day’s tasks before I got into my night-time routine. This helped my brain unwind, safe in the knowledge I wouldn’t forget my most important tasks. I still use this method today to ensure I get the best sleep possible. Changing what you do before bed can give you an edge in all other aspects of your life.”
The first section of his book focuses on how to get into shape and achieve body goals. The second part provides advice on dealing with problems such as anxiety, stress and worry. Crucially it shows readers how to maintain fitness by changing their mindset.